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tv   Special Report With Bret Baier  FOX News  May 1, 2010 4:00am-5:00am EDT

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, inc >> bret: next on "special report," the oil is still flowing into the gulf and still heading toward the louisiana coast. we have live team coverage. another good sign for the economy, as first quarter growth numbers come out. could uncertainty over the iraqi political situation keep america troops there longer than expected? li live from our studio in washington this is "special report." good evening, i'm bret baier. oil from a sunken rig in the gulf of mexico now reached the louisiana coastline. much more is on the way, along with bad weather. the military is now involved in the effort to head off an environmental disaster. or at least try to. we have fox team coverage. senior white house correspondent major garrett reports on the administration's response. correspondent jonathan serrie looks at the economic impact on the fishing and tourism industries, but we begin with correspondent kris gutierrez live in venice, louisiana, the staging area for the
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clean-up effort. good evening, kris. >> reporter: good evening to you, bret. mother nature is not cooperating with the massive clean-up effort underway off the coast in louisiana. strong winds and a rising tide are pushing oily water up and over the floating barriers that were set up to protect the shoreline. a thin oil sheen is already washing ashore in areas only accessible by boat. the concern is if the oil flowing into the gulf isn't stopped, it could push in to marshy inlet, ponds and lakes. not just here in louisiana, but all the way over the florida. here is an image of the spill taken from space. nasa satellites clearly show this spill is growing. and the federal government is now pressing b.p., the company that was leasing the sunken rig, to step up efforts to cap the well. >> we continue to urge b.p. to leverage additional assets, to help lead the response in this effort. because it is clear that after several unsuccessful
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attempts to secure the source of the leak, it's time for b.p. to supplement their current mobilization, as the slick of oil moves toward shore. >> reporter: today, crews working to clean up the oil slick plucked this bird from the gulf, it was covered in oil. wildlife experts washed it and plan to set it free, but not until the oil leak is contained. this bird may be the first of many affected by this spill. in fact, more than 400 species of wildlife have already been identified as potentially being in harm's way. bret, back to you. >> bret: kris gutierrez live in louisiana. thanks. the spill could have affects that go far beyond the louisiana coastline. correspondent jonathan serrie looks at that part of the story from dolphin island, alabama. >> reporter: tracking the oil spill affect on wildlife. the dolphin island lab is sending research teams in some of the from fragi fragile
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areas to take samples. >> this is the fertile crescent. this is a good percentage of production in the gulf of mexico, east of the mississippi river. i am not equipped to tell you it's worth this many dollars but if we look at a decade of impact, with reduced production, that's my long-term concern. >> reporter: the oil spill could have a huge impact on the commercial fishing interest and tourism. randy bogs owns a small fishing charter company in orange beach. >> it's paramount in my business and we don't want to see oil on the beaches. >> reporter: marine biologists say the beaches are relatively easy to clean and controlled burns could remove oil from marshes, but not so for the oyster habitat. >> that is the concern, if it gets in the oyster reef and grass beds, productive area, you don't run a vacuum cleaner over it. the grass beds are particularly friday jill in our part of the world.
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even trying to clean it would probably destroy them. >> reporter: already a mississippi seafood company filed class action lawsuit against british petroleum and other companies involved with the sunken oil rig, seeking at least $5 million in compensatory damages. b.p. officials say they will honor all legitimate claims of damages arising from this oil spill. bret? >> bret: okay, jonathan, thank you. president obama today ordered that no new offshore drilling leases be issued unless rigs have new safeguards to prevent a repeat of what is happening now in the gulf. senior white house correspondent major garrett reports the administration is bristoling at comparisons to previous disaster in the same region. >> reporter: for the second straight day president obama attached comments on the oil spill to another prepared
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speech. the first move delaying any knew offshore oil and natural gas leases. >> i continue to believe domestic oil production is an important part of our overall strategy for energy security. but i've always said it must be done responsibly, for the safety of our workers, and our environment. >> reporter: as the damage exploratory well continued to pump estimated 200,000 gallons of oil in the gulf per day, white house pumped out statistics on the federal response, including a rare blog post from white house press secretary robert gibbs. the president is saying the crisis is worsening, and gulf coast recently recovered from katrina feels helplessness as it creeps ever closer. in the campaign, candidate obama said this about katrina. >> the words "never again" cannot be another empty phrase. >> reporter: it was about new orleans but the broader comments were clear.
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many say this could be obama's katrina. coast guarded th ed tha thad al this head on. >> this is no katrina. one were levees and this is a wellhead on the ocean floor. after that, no comparison. >> you're satisfied with the federal response from minute one to where we are now? >> not only am i satisfied i'm accountable. we have been there saving people's lives. >> reporter: environmentalists in general agree. >> the immediate response to stop the leaks were handled well. i think the president focussed his top brass attention on it a bit late, though. >> reporter: the coast guard was on scene soon after the exploratory rig deep water horizon exploded. 11 rig workers are still missing and presumed dead. early efforts to cap the well failed and the company operating the well, b.p., underestimated the quantity of oil leaking 5,000 feet below the ocean surface. >> they initially thought it was 1,000 barrels a day,
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because it's like a hose that is twisted. i think the estimate was less was coming out than you would anticipate if the hose had not been twisted. >> commacommandant allen says there are three days to mark this, the three days to put out the fire and rescue operation and five days of the oil leak and measuring now a little more confidently how much oil is leaking in the gulf. bret? >> bret: a lot of looking into this. thank you. dan springer will look back at the worst oil disaster in the u.s. the exxon valdez spill in alaska, and look at what it looks like today. that's at the bottom of the hour. first, the f.b.i. is investigating the company involved in the mine disaster in west virginia. 9 workers die -- 29 workers died at the explosion at the upper branch mine and they're looking into possible criminal negligence on part of massey energy. the company offered families
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of those killed $3 million apiece. jury in knoxville convicted a tennessee man on two counts of hacking into sarah palin's private e-mail account. david kernel was acquitted on a third charge and the jury deadlocked on a fourth but he faces maximum of 21 years in prison. palin was a witness for the prosecution. >> lesson is out there now that it is not good to do, to hack into somebody's e-mail in a campaign but greater than that is the lesson that needs to be learned it's not a good idea to break into anybody, candidate or not, anybody's personal information to try to embarrass or harass or diminish their security. >> two brooklyn men declined to enter pleas in court appearance in alexander, virginia, after being accused of providing material support
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to al-qaeda. one went to yemen, they say, took an oath of ale jens and the other performed assignment for al-qaeda in new york. why is a world leader now recruiting for twitter? we'll explain. we'll tell you whether the u.s. economy is building upon recent growth or sliding back toward recession.
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>> bret: as the senate continues debate on a financial overhaul bill, we learn today the economy is continuing its slow climb out of recession. correspondent james rosen looks at the latest numbers and what they mean and the latest action to rein in wall street on capitol hill. >> reporter >> our economy as a whole is in a better place than it was a year ago. >> reporter: for that assertion, the president's latest evidence was the release of the gross domestic product for the first quarter of 2010 that showed the economy growing by 3.2%. >> the economy that shrank
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for four quarters in a row has now grown for three quarters in a row. >> reporter: the growth was slower than analysts forecast and the stock market reacted with disquiet. closing down by 158 points. mr. obama appeared to recognize that the seemingly endless stream of mixed picture reports on the health of the economy like today's g.d.p. figure do it will to bolster confidence for those who need it most. >> it doesn't mean much to american who has lost his or her job and can't find another. >> i hope the debate will be civil. >> reporter: on the senate floor, lawmakers renewed debate over whether the democrats' 1400-page overhaul of the laws governing the financial services industry would help the economy recover. the author argued it would to have an agency to protect borrowers and restore confidence, contrary to what he called propaganda of the bill's critics. >> i'm not going to zillionth around and listen to people issue false statements about what is in this bill, to inflame innocent people who want good legislation and being told that this legislation will do them
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harm. it does just the opposite. >> reporter: republicans braced for two weeks of amendment and debate on the bill with the first vote set to cur tuesday and the most divisive among this tough ones likely to be the consumer protection agency dodd passionately defended. >> this would give this particular organization a large and very expansive role in the lives of americans that i think will increase the cost of capital, i think it will create a lot of bureaucracy across our country. and so, no, i think this is very problematic and the issue we need to deal with most. >> in addition to amendments both parties have begun circulating pdfs of the invitation to each other's most recent fundraisers; particularly, those hosted by rich manhattanites with ties to wall street. it is, bret, going to be a rough one. >> bret: thank you, james. as he mentioned the dow was down today, losing 158 3/4. the s&p 500 dropped 20 and change.
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the nasdaq gave back 50 3/4. fox news has learned that earlier in week president obama interviewed judge merrick garland of the federal appeals court in washington for the upcoming vacancy on the supre court. garland is a former federal prosecutor who oversaw the cases against the unibomber and the oklahoma city bomber. in america's news headquarters tonight, billionaire real estate developer jeff green is going to enter the race and challenge meek for the nomination. green says he will spend whatever it takes from his personal fortune on the race. green ran for congress once before, unsuccessfully as a republican. from california. the judge in the corruption trial for former illinois governor rod blagojevich denied a defense request to subpoena testimony of president obama. defense lawyers say the president has defense
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knowledge of the case. blagojevich is charged with trying to sell the senate seat that mr. obama vacated after winning the presidency. well, congress wants the people of puerto rico to vote on whether they want to join the united states. it sounds pretty simple, but as senior correspondent brian wilson reports it's a politically loaded question without an easy answer. >> reporter: old glory. 13 stripes representing the original colonies and on the field of blue, 50 stars representing the 50 states. but could that flag one day have 51 stars? not talking about the district of columbia here. though the residents of d.c. would desperately love to be part of an independent state. the last time they tried to bring it up, it imploded in congress without a vote being taken. no, we're talking about puerto rico. a territory that belongs to, but is not part of the united states. right now, puerto ricans are u.s. citizens, though most don't pay income taxes. that he also don't get to vote in presidential
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elections. and the resident commissioner who represents them in congress cannot vote. residents of the island nation have long been split on the issue of statehood. so it was surprising this week when congress debated and passed a measure that would allow puerto ricans to vote on whether they want to change their relationship with the u.s. if they vote yes, there would be a second vote to decide if they want to be a state, be an independent nation, or seek some other type of political association between sovereign nations. one of the people pushing this move is the current republican governor of puerto rico. >> i'm convinced that framers of the constituticonstitution, founding fathers never intended for this relationship to last 112 years. secondly, the second round i hope we'll be a state today. >> reporter: one member who voted against the measure thinks we're going about this all wrong. >> what we are doing is blessing a process by which we are asking them if they want to become a state. to me that's backwards. >> reporter: the weird thing
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about the house vote is the members were not whipped along party lines. some democrats voted for it, others against it. house minority leader john boehner voted against it, but two members of the republican leadership, eric cantor and mike pence voted for it. none of this seems imminent or likely. even if it becomes law and even if the people of puerto rico decide they want to become a state, there are many in congress who will oppose the idea. and then there is this: how will americans deal with the jealous outrage certain to emerge from the northern mariana islands? in washington, brian wilson, fox news. >> bret: not to mention washington, d.c. we will take a look back at the upon va exxon valdez disastd see what prince williams sound look like today. and will the iraqi government impact the sch come on, guys, sack those unwanted pounds. i'm lawrence taylor. i lost 35 pounds on nutrisystem. give nutrisystem for men a try.
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>> bret: checking world headlines, there are reports than american prison has been allowed to speak to his family by telephone. gomez is serving eight years of hard labor for entering the country illegally. in unspecified hos stytile act. south korea minister says aluminum recovered from the site of a sunken navy ship did not come from the vessel. 40 sailors died after explosion on the ship last month. aluminum is used in the production of torpedos. just central command chiefp chiefpetpchiefpe petreus is saying there is a planned offensive this summer. kandahar has seen a surge in bomb attacks, assassinations and suicide raids this spring.
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iran criticized his main rival call for international involve in the the country's disputed election saying it will delay the push for sovereignty. a big part of the push centers around the withdrawal of american combat troops. mike emanuel looks at the situation from the pentagon tonight. >> reporter: taking note of the uptick in violence in and out of the capital of iraq, senior military sources say april has been a rough month and predicts a brutal summer ahead. iraqi voters turned out in big numbers march 7. neither nouri al-maliki or haw law earned enough votes to be outright winner and since then, little progress has been made to form a new government. recount is expected to start next week but experts say it could take three weeks to complete. former u.s. ambassador to iraq ryan crocker says it will be a long, messy process. >> i will anticipate we may
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not see a government until just before ramadan, the second week this august. >> reporter: recent violence led to increase in u.s. casualties with three service members killed in action this month. this are 94,000 troops in iraq. the idea was to keep a robust presence as iraqi le leaders bork to form a new government. the presidential deadline set a month after president obama took office is looming. >> let me say this as plainly as i. can -- as i can. by august 31, 2010o, combat mission in iraq will end. >> for american commander ray odierno that means withdrawaling the bulk of combat forces this summer as the political system may be unsettled. >> he is still confident, general odierno is, we can draw down our forces to 50,000 by september. we are monitoring the situation in iraq. >> crocker recently expressed being nervous about the draw
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down but said if general odierno believes it can be done, he has faith in him. still, crocker says the iraqis are going to require plenty of american support and guidance. >> they will need our help for a long time to come but we have to stay engage and focussed at the top levels. >> while the president has not convened a meeting on iraq in some time, officials say the vice president has been very hands-on in the political process. aides say the president does receive regular update on development from iraq in theth president's daily brief. >> bret: mike emanuel life at the pentagon. thanks. ♪ ♪ >> bret: the governor of arizona is defending her state's new immigration law that sparked backlash. jan brewer calls the reaction unfounded hisser toia and state lawmakers approved some modification to the law already, strengthening restrictions against using race or ethnicity as the basis for questioning by police. pra divisional -- traditional
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may day immigration rights rallies will likely be bigger because of the new law with 100,000 expected in l.a. for example. correspondent william la jeunesse has more reaction from phoenix. >> reporter: from pop stars to newspaper columnists, everyone has opinion about the immigration law. >> it goes against all human dignity and against principles of most americans i know. this country has values that i have always admired. >> reporter: others call it misguided, hateful, racist. >> show me your papers. we have known from movies of world war ii coming out of the mouth of a nazi. >> reporter: like any other state, arizona is a melting pot and proud of it. but the reality is the state is staggering under the impact of human smuggling, drug trafficking and other crimes committed by foreign nationals who shouldn't be here. >> we believe that our laws should be enforced and our border should be secure. we should have some idea who
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is coming in the country. >> reporter: drop houses for illegal immigrants litter phoenix neighborhoods. one in seven prisoners and one in five county inmates are in arizona illegally, charged with crimes from assault and conspiracy to first degree murder. lawmakers felt they had to act. >> they don't want to enforce immigration law. the bush administration didn't want to do. the obama administration doesn't want to do it. janet napolitano didn't want to do it as governor and she doesn't want to do it as director of homeland security. >> reporter: federal law clearly states any foreigner who doesn't report their presence and carry papers showing they are in the country legally can be fined or imprisoned. but when arizona passes nearly identical legislation, it's attacked from all sides. border patrol statistics show more than half of illegal immigrants come in the u.s. across the arizona border. residents say outsiders have no idea what that means so they should keep their opinions to themselves. three federal lawsuits were filed on thursday, two by hispanic cops who claim the law will interfere with their contacts with immigrants. the other by a latino clergy
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group who claimed that the law illegally pre-empts federal authority over immigration. so now it is up to the courts to decide if this law takes effect as scheduled this summer. in phoenix, arizona, william la jeunesse, fox news. >> bret: well, it didn't take long for florida republicans to move on after being spurned by their governor. and how did iran get a seat on the u.n. commission on women? we'll tell you in the grapevine.
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welcome home, man.
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>> bret: welcome to a friday follow-up of the edition of the political grapvine. united nations is taking criticism for putting iran on the commission of the sta, of women, enabling the country to help set policy on gender equality and advancement of women. 200 irani women's rights activists warned in a letter country's membership would pose a serious threat to group's goal and mission. some people are pointing the finger at the u.s. and other western democracies for keeping silent in the vote. some report it may have been because of iran's appointment to the women's group ended its push for spot on the prestigious human rights commission. michigan republican congre congressman thaddeus mccotter said --
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>> bret: florida's republican parsy is cleaning house that governor charlie crist left the g.o.p. to run for u.s. senate as an independent. the first thing to go in the party's tallahassee headquarters is this oil painting of the governor that hung in the lobby. the "tampa tribune" reports that the painting costs $7,500 and the party hopes to recoup some of that by hocking it on ebay. other images of crist with various momentos bearing his signature and likeness have also been removed. finally, venezuelaing leader hugo chavez is so happy with his new twitter account he is encouraging his friends to join. he said in an appearance with bolivian president evo morales, "i invite evo and former cuben president fidel castro. evo, are you on twitter? let's invite evo to twitter." chavez has 130,000 followers and tweeted thursday, "this has been an unexpected
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explosion. thanks. i'm here with evo. we will conquer." our top story at the bottom of the hour, clean-up crews are working furiously to try to prevent major environmental damage from the gulf coast oil spill. bad weather is coming in and the workers are still unable to turn off the flow of 200,000 gallons a day in the water. comparisons are already being made to the worst such disaster to hit american shores 21 years ago in alaska. correspondent dan springer looks at what happened then and what is happening now. >> reporter: march 24, 1989, the exxon valdez hits a reef sending 11 million gallons of alaska crude oil in prince williams sound. killing thousands of sea otters and birds and destroying a fishery. today, the sound is largery recovered. most of the wildlife has returned. even the fishing town of
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cordova, ground 0 owe for the economic devastation survived. the herring never did come back. but the fishermen who stayed are still catching halibut and salmon. at the time of the spill, though, there was only despair. >> you know there were people crying in the street. >> reporter: despite four years and $2 billion spent by exxon to clean the mess, the oil proved resilient. two decades later there is still 21,000 gallons of oil just beneath the surface along hundreds of miles of alaska coastline. they recently completed a study where they dug 9,000 holes and found oil from the exxon valdez in half of them. >> one of the things we expected was it wouldn't go to last 20 years ago 21 years ago. we expected the oil to be weathered and gone away. >> reporter: now some locals are putting their experience to work. ali, who runs the pipeline, sent consultant and thousands of dispersement to growing slick in the gulf. >> mechanical meals can be
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problematic, i mean using the boones to contain the oil. i wonder if there is enough in the world to contain that oil. >> reporter: from those who survived a massive spill, ominous warning for louisiana. >> double wham whammwhammy. the natural system is damaged and economic infrastructure is in chaos. >> reporter: now they believe oil from the exxon valdez spill will still be in the environment here 100 years from now. other signs are more encouraging. ten of the 31 species impacted by the spill have fully recovered. 19 more are well on their way. in valdez, alaska, dan springer, fox news. >> bret: there are plenty of political implications from this month's oil spill. we'll talk about all of those with the fox all-stars in three minute
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b.p. is ultimately responsible under the law for paying the cost of response and clean-up operations.
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but we are fully prepared to reach our responsibilities to the affected communities. >> i shared the concerns that b.p. current resources are not adequate to reach the challenges we face. it urged them to look for help from federal government and others. >> at this point nobody knows the answer of how to shut off that well. >> bret: that is the issue as the oil spill continues. 200,000 gallons of oil pumping in the rig with the explosion and now the clean-up effort is underway. the federal government is engaged. take a look at a satellite photo or tw two, you can get a grasp of how big it is. see the squiggly area on the right there. there you see the circle. that is the whole area. you can see the gulf coast. it is expanding and has reached the coastline of louisiana. how bad is this going to get? what are the political
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implications of it all? bring in the panel. stephen hayes for "the weekly standard." erin billings, we welcome, deputy editor of "roll call" and syndicated columnist, charles krauthammer. erin, we start with you. first, the president said he's mobilized the administration. the department of defense. is there a look-back already they have perhaps didn't act fast enough on this thing in washington? >> i'm sure that's the case. the president, if he's not overcompensating some say he is. he sent secretary salazar and secretary napolitano. he is shipping everybody down to make the case that he is focussing on the effort. he read the newspapers and saw a suggestion this could be his hurricane katrina. he does not want to have to relive what george bush had to relive over those, you know -- even to today. trying to make the case that he did enough. so i think he is going to throw everything at this and
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make this number one priority. >> bret: steve, this comes, obviously, after the administration stepped out and said in the long term, they were for offshore drilling. a little confusion there. back and forth when the announcement was made whether in fact they were moving quickly on that effort anyway. what does it do to that situation? >> the politics for the president i think in this case are terrible, because he made that announcement. we, i think, talked on this show about how it didn't obligate him to move forward and it wasn't as meaningful as it was played and it wasn't as meaningful his announcement as some on the environmental left took it to be. but the fact is he made the announcement and came out in favor of more exploration and production, including offshore. he did that and then a month later this happened. this is all going to be seen in that context. in the absence of that announcement, you'd have a strikingly different tone from the president today. you'd have him talking about the consequences of drill, baby, drill, that republicans
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have made arguments for, for years. but i definitely think it's a bit much to compare this to katrina and it's very unclear if you go back and reread the chronology of what people knew at various times that there was anything more the administration could have done than it actually did. >> bret: charles, you talk to people down there in gulf coast region. they are very concerned about the long term implications of this thing. >> well, as we saw in the package on the commhe commo exx it's catastrophic. it will stay on shore and decimate the wildlife and economy and that's for sures unless it's stopped. and if you can't stop the excess spilling going on now it's hard to imagine how they will stop the damage. i agree with what has been said about the political issue here. it's rather ironic. here you have obama from day one has governed left on just about everything, and then he decides a month ago to throw a bone no the center and come
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out for a little concession on drilling. his eye was to achieving some compromise with republicans on cap-and-trade, energy bills so he thought he would give a little bit on drilling, which we said at the time was not a lot. it was mostly show and a lot very not much in substance. however, having done that, the one shift to the right he's done has completely left him exposed. if he hadn't, you can be sure he'd rail against republicans on this issue and saying they're the ones who want to drill. look what happens. he's neutralized on that. you notice that republicans are hiding under their desks, they are not speaking out in favor of a lot of drilling right now. i think this is going to be in a political sense the death nail of that entire thrust which was strong in 2008. it will be gone now after this. the way, after the spill off the coast of santa barbara in 1969 that shut down the whole west coast, it will have a
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similar political impact here. >> bret: erin, pentagon spokesman says they've received request from governor bobby jindal to have the federal government to pick up the expense from the national guard. and this continues to grow, this response. >> you bet. this is not a surprise. as i said earlier, obama will throw everything he's got at this. what is going to be interesting, though, is going forward, where is the blame going to go? obama boxed himself in a corner because a month ago he said he was for some drilling. what will happen, they will come together and b.p. will ultimately be the company they're pointing fingers at. i don't think that either side really has the ammunition to point the finger at the other in this particular -- >> exactly.
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we're going to have hearings in six months, like the goldman sachs hearings in which senators will be railing against big oil, because it's a big target. blaming them. and either, and the republicans and democrats will do it equally, as we saw in the goldman hearings. you always want to have scapegoat and it's going to be b.p.. there has been a remarkable safety record in the gulf and the north sea in terms of these drills, but the problem is we have to drill so deep, this one is a mile deep. because ironically we have had all the restrictions drilling on the continue then tall shelf. no -- continental shelf, no drilling in alaska where it's safer. ironically the oil companies are pushed to risky endeavors and this is what happens. >> he has to be careful. you can't do that too quickly if you are the president because you're relying on b.p. to help stop this right now.
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i mean if you, yeah, if you turn on them too quickly and try to make them the devil right now, that could really backfire. >> bret: just had word. may 12 is the hearing on this oil rig explosion. already scheduled. go to our home page at foxnews.com/specialreport for web-exclusive story from national correspondent catherine herridge on why there are big espionage concerns about shanghai expo which opens this friday. nex
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>> bret: every week on the foxnews.com/specialreport page, viewers vote on what topic we should discuss. first, in this, the friday lightning round. today, drum roll, please, the
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winner is charles krauthammer's wild card pick. stephen hayes is not surprised by the victory. charles, what is the pick? >> once again, i'm humbled. if i keep getting humbled i'll become humbled if it goes on. here is the question. immigration issue erupted and if it remains hot in the year, which of the two parties will benefit? the correct answer -- or should i wait -- >> bret: no, go ahead. >> the correct answer is in the long run it will help the democrats. karl rove understa understood t understood it's demographic issue, but that's a decade or two away. short run it will help republicans. poll is 70% in favor of the draconian bill and nationally it's 60%. in 2010, 2012, it still helps the republicans generally speaking across the country. but with possible exceptions of particular places.
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>> erin? >> can i disagree? >> bret: of course. even though he says it's the correct answer. >> i hate to disagree with the master but i disagree. i think immigration does fuel hispanic voters, that is a critical voting bloc for democrats as we know. as you all know. senator harry reid, majority leader is up for the re-election of his life in nevada. hispanics will make or break that election for him. and he's got to be talking about it, and democrats will be talking about it. it will play to the democrats' favor if they are smart and keep it up for debate and keep it atop the priority list. >> bret: hmm. steve? >> you're both wrong. charles is more right than erin. i think it helps republicans in the short-term in 2010 specific clall specifically, because it's about the demographics. these are localized election, especially the house. you have overwhelming if you look at the racial make-up of the gerrymandered district, you have overwhelmalingly
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districts that would be opposed to illegal immigration. in 2012, i think it's a different story. i think because it's a national election and you do need strong hispanic turn-out, particularly for president obama with him on the ballot, it's likely to spread that support in a way we won't see in 2010. >> bret: okay. puerto rico, effort for statehood. they are already a u.s. territory and u.s. citizens but they don't vote in presidential elections and there was a vote in the house of representatives last night to encourage puerto rico to hold a referendum if they want to push for statehood. if they vote yes in puerto rico, they have three choices. to be a state, independent nation, seek some other political association between sovereign nations. what is this? steve? >> well, i basically like the idea of including puerto rico. i figure that people who want to be united states citizens and want to have a vote as a general proposition should be able to, if they do it legally. the concern with puerto rico
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if particular is the levels of n poverty bringing them in, how much more are you bring to the debt and rolls. >> bret: this is a longshot, triple-banker. erin? >> this is not going anywhere. it's not even on the senate radar. nancy pelosi, the speaker of the house, didn't want to have the vote because the caucus is divided. even puerto ricans are divided. it's great to talk about it and i know the governor of puerto rico wants it but it's not going anywhere. >> if it were to go anywhere it would make our immigration debate look like a picnic. the reason is it would change the nature of america. we'd become bilingual country. there is nothing wrong entren sickly, i grew up -- entrin sickly -- intrinsically. you can see divisions that you see elsewhere that are hard to eradicate and it would add element of division in the country.
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i'm not opposed necessarily but it would change what america is. >> bret: has the president changed his tone talking about congress? >> he used a name or two, like mitch mcconnell in his attacks but generally speaking since he took off he tried to delegitimize his opponents and says all they're interested is politics an he is interested in truth and the american way. he has spoken in a derisive way for a year and three months now. >> bret: erin? >> the difference is he is getting personal. now he's trying to malign mitch mcconnell, john boehner, whom over and it was more general before. he's really getting into campaign mode now. they're look for a villain. that is what we're seeing. >> wing thing to fight back -- it's one thing to fight back. one frustration of the bush administration was he took so many shots and they refused to fight back in any serious or sustained way, against the charges way over the top about lying over iraq, et cetera. the difference is president obama had made it personally and taken it beyond the typical political fight. >> that is it for the panel.
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erin, nice inaugural run. stay tuned for an interesting use of downtime in afghanistan.
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>> bret: finally tonight, music videos are not as popular as they once were when mtv actually played music videos. people still watch them on their iphones and computer. the latest video from lady gaga song telephone on down time u.s. troops in afghanistan are a big hit on youtube now with their take of lady gaga's hit video. ♪ ♪ ♪ ♪ >> bret: all right. there is a lot of down time there thanks for inviting us

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